You’ve Been Cookie-Jarred – Now What?

Last Updated 07.10.2022
4 min read

We all remember our grandmother’s cookie jar. She always had it stocked and we loved getting into it, even when we weren’t supposed to.

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Well, there’s another newer meaning for cookie jar that is not so nice – in fact, it’s pretty terrible if you are the victim of cookie-jarring. You are basically the side squeeze for someone who is really in a relationship with someone else, and they reach into that cookie jar only to keep you on the hook, just in case. Once you realize you have been cookie-jarred, you will need to understand why and what you should do now.

Why Do People Cookie-Jar?

From a psychological standpoint, cookie-jarring is a result of a person’s insecurity. They cannot stand to be without a partner. So, if something goes wrong with their primary relationship, or if they find themselves in-between relationships, then they have a “back-up” to call upon. The bottom line is they cannot stand to be without a relationship going on all of the time.

Are You Being Cookie-Jarred? Here are the Clues

You are Never Taken Out Publicly

Your “partner” wants to spend all of your time together at your place, not usually theirs (certainly not if their main relationship lives with them). Correction here: they may take you out publicly if it will be out of town.

You Don’t Know Any of Their Friends, Family Members, or Co-workers, and There’s Always an Excuse Why

Their family members are out of town, are terribly busy with their jobs and their own families, etc. As far as co-workers are concerned, the same usually applies, although they may tell you that they are not really socially involved with people from work.

They Don’t Usually Initiate Communication Unless They Have a Need

They’ve had a fight with their primary and need to dip into the cookie jar for their backup – you. And, if they feel you are beginning to “catch on” or growing tired of being ignored, they will step up their game and pay more attention to you for the time being at least. 

They Do a Lot of Canceling at the Last Minute

Their primary has made plans to go out of town. You have a date with this person. The primary’s plans get canceled, and so you get canceled too. If last-minute cancellations are occurring frequently, it’s a clear sign that you are not the primary.

They Admit They are Married or in a Relationship

This is pretty common, but the rest of their “story” is that it isn’t working and they are working on ending it. Never going to happen.

They Don’t Want to Have Serious Talk

Serious talk includes conversations about goals, values, and your future plans together. Instead, they deflect. They may send you flowers or gifts – all designed to keep you thinking that they truly care. But when it comes to serious subjects, they are vague, or they tell you they can’t really talk about this until they get out of their current primary relationship.

You’re Onto the Game – Now What?

It hurts. But if you are able to muster up some good old anger, that will help. Here are your strategies:

  • End it now – right now. Yes, this will hurt too. Cut off all communication immediately.

  • Block them from your phone and all social media accounts

  • Get a support system around you – friends and family who will give you courage and help to keep you angry

  • Give in to your pain and spend some time alone to deal with your grief. Something has died, and there is a grieving process.

  • Get yourself busy as soon as you can. Take a class; volunteer somewhere; go out socially with friends. Who knows? You may even find a new interest.

  • Don’t jump into a rebound relationship – it will not end well.

It Hasn’t Been a Pleasant Experience

Being cookie-jarred is not the best experience you will have. But it isn’t the worst either. The important thing to remember is that the problem is not that you somehow weren’t enough. The problem was with them and their insecurities.

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